Architect, artist and interior designer
Bali has made an incredible impact on my life. The last 10+ years on this island have shown that it’s a place where dreams turn into reality.
Tell us your story – how did you get here?
Pure luck, actually. I was on a highway, kind of on a trajectory, destined to take my career from point A to point B, but something happened. At age twenty, while I was still at University, I decided to quit my studies in International Business, veering off unwittingly into the unknown to take a more scenic road. Shortly after, I signed up for a painting class at the University’s art department, even though I was a miserable painter.
From here, one thing led to the next; from painting I moved into sculpture, from sculpture to photography, from photography to drawing, and then eventually one day I found myself with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, leading to a Masters Degree in Interior Design from one of the best schools in that field in Europe.
I landed my first job working for Andree Putman in Paris, and then moved on to work for Christian Liaigre, who in my opinion is one of the most stylish designers of our time. For me, this was the gateway that opened up a myriad of opportunities to follow.
After five years working for the rich and famous, I came to Bali, not really knowing what I would find here. I quit my job and drifted for about six months. This is when I collided with the owner of Suarga Hotel, then only a concept on paper. Frederik, the owner, was looking for an interior designer and he hired me to work alongside Yew Kuan Cheong. This led to my first job here on the island. The rest is history.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Claiming the summit of a Cocos Nucifera tree. It was a radiant summer morning in my early twenties. My hair was getting kind of long and I was beach-combing the lush Venezuelan coastline for a few weeks. I’d seen locals climb the trees an uncountable number of times throughout my childhood, but never had I seen an urban city dweller like myself doing it. To everyone’s surprise, that morning it was I, the city boy from Caracas, crawling on the stem and saddling the crown of the palm tree, harvesting its precious coconuts. As insignificant as this might seem to anyone reading this, for me, this was a glorious moment, in which I successfully overcame fear, challenging myself into doing something people around me thought of as impossible. From this day on, I knew that I could be stranded on a remote island and survive.
What impact have you made in Bali?
I would find it awfully pretentious to believe that I have made any impact on Bali at all. If anything, it would be the other way around. Bali has made an incredible impact on my life. The last 10+ years on this island have shown that it’s a place where dreams turn into reality. I don’t think that any other place on this planet would have allowed me to make such an exponential leap in my career in such a short time span. Thank you, Bali!
What does the future look like for you?
Busy. We have been blessed with the most amazing clients, who are inviting us to join their visions for what are some of the most surreal projects. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it. We are currently involved with projects that architects from around the globe can only dream of.
What do you love most about Bali?
The fact that I can really immerse myself into my job, while not having to sacrifice the quality of my personal life. Both are so interconnected in a way that I can hardly distinguish one from the other. This is only possible because Bali has given birth to a concept of a multicultural lifestyle, which to my understanding, until now, did not exist anywhere else.
Who is your Local Legend and why?
There are so many, but today I will appoint my dear friend, Gede Suteja. He is the General Manager for COMO Hotels in Bali. He is a role model and I’m very grateful because I have learned so much from just watching him interact with the staff at the hotels that he manages. He is a unique leader and I hope he reads this message because it is a way for me to say thank you. Thank you!